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No slowing down, a lesson from a racquetball pro - abc27 WHTM

No slowing down, a lesson from a racquetball pro

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HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) -

At 77-years-old, Grant Morrill has experienced a lot. He jokes, "Somebody told me that if I wrote my life story, they'd have to put it on the fiction shelf because nobody would believe it."

That’s because it is hard to believe.

Grant grew up during World War II and lived in the “projects” of Maine.

He kept busy playing sports and at 10-years-old, he sank his first hole-in-one. Since then, Grant has hit 17 more – four of those on a par four.

Grant eventually enlisted in the Navy where he was a boxer and when he was discharged in 1962, he moved to Pennsylvania.

10 years later, he found a different uniform to put on… a clown costume.

Grant became “Spoony the Clown” for the Zembo Shrine in 1972 and spent 17 years performing as a rodeo clown.

In 1992, he picked up another sport, racquetball, traveling to New Mexico to learn the game. When he got back, Grant hit the courts playing 43 tournaments a year for five years.

He earned nine state championships, five national championships and two world championships in racquetball before his health forced him to slow down in 2006.

Doctors told him they weren’t sure what was wrong, but that he would need chemotherapy and radiation. Grant demanded a second opinion and traveled to the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota where he was diagnosed with Lymphoplasmacytic Lymphoma and Amyloidosis of the kidneys.

His nephew Daron Morrill remembers the diagnosis, “They called us and said he probably won't make it through the weekend.”

At the Mayo Clinic, Grant received stem cell implants which cured him, and today, he is in total remission.

“And that for him to bounce back from that is just a true testament to the human being he is,” says Daron.

After his recovery, Grant returned to racquetball and now he spends his days teaching others the importance of living a healthy lifestyle.

He says, “The older you get, you take time not to do... and you can't do that. You gotta still...to do."

And he does. Three days a week you can find him at the Central Penn Health and Fitness Center, teaching others the game of racquetball.

If he’s not there, he’s on the golf course, searching for a 19th hole in one.


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